Monday Night Mystery

What's this?

Five points for picking the family, five points for the genus.  And infinity points for figuring out what the those balloon-like structures are for. I have no idea.

More like this

Riodinidae , genus is Theope. Yay, I got one!

Ooh, and do i get extra points for saying that it's being attended by Azteca velox? I'm really excited right now.

"In these obligate symbioses the

exaggerated balloon setae surrounding the head of

Theope caterpillars (figure 1) appear important in med-

iating associations with dolichoderine ants by providing

semiochemical stimuli to ant symbionts (DeVries 1997)."

From "Ancient butterfly-ant symbiosis: direct evidence from Dominican amber" (DeVries and Poinar 1997).

Gosh, is this the DeVries who has some show on Animal Planet?

Gosh. Infinity points. I'm not even sure how to start giving those out!

I found something that refutes that and says they're "used to store and disperse a noxious chemical when the caterpillar or pupa is grabbed by a predator, rather than to facilitate a symbiotic relationship with ants, as previously suggested." I can't access it, but you might.…

Well, time to get to my homework, then!

some caterpillar